At risk of dating myself, I remember when my friend got this thing called an Atari and everyone in the neighbourhood flocked to his house to play this game where you got chased by ghosts and ate magic energy pellets.
From ‘Moon Lander’ for the Vic 20, ‘Choplifter’ for the Apple IIE, all the way to the current ‘Halo’ series for the Xbox 360 – the quality of video games has progressed at a ferocious rate. NHL 2006 by Electronic Arts is so realistic one could easily confuse it with Hockey Night in Canada. Was I playing the Tom Clancy Rainbow 6 series by Ubisoft or watching the fine programming at Fox News again? The lines are definitely getting blurred.
Some video games have become so addictive they have been mentioned as a cause of unemployment, poor performance in school, and even a contributory factor of “divorce”:http://www.gameinfowire.com/news.asp?nid=4600 in the United Kingdom.
Given that video games are no longer limited to young children, enthusiasts are spending more time on them than television. So it was inevitable that in-game advertising became part of the video game landscape.
Based on “a recent emarketer report”:http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?1004027, the trend of video game advertising is picking up steam and not showing any signs of slowing down in the future. Case in point is Microsoft’s “recent acquisition”:http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/may06/05-04MassiveIncPR.mspx of an in-game advertising company “Massive”:http://www.massiveincorporated.com/.
The danger is that one doesn’t want to turn off enthusiasts by overly excessive advertising. Video game creators have to be careful as advertising overkill could affect their sales negatively in a fiercely competitive industry.
On the client side, advertisers must be careful what they associate with as there are some very violent and sexually explicit games. It can be a minefield out there. Especially if you are trying to protect your brand so treading carefully is recommended. We are now way past the nostalgic days of Pac-Man.